University of Arizona catcher Daniel Susac is a foregone conclusion for the position. At 6’4″ and weighing 218 pounds, Susac could be considered a model backstop. Not only that, but he comes from a catcher’s family. His brother, Andrew Susac, spent six combined seasons in the big leagues. Though his brother never was a household name, Daniel could remedy that. He has the chops for it, picking up all-conference honours in the Pac-12 last year. Scouts have been very impressed with his ability to, among other things, play the position well. Let’s take a bit of a deeper dive and examine how this 21-year-old could impact the league.
Regarding strengths, Daniel Susac has one big one: his arm. MLB.com has him rated at 60/80. Interestingly enough, he was their quarterback while in school at Jesuit High in Carmichael, California. All of this seems to have led to a conglomeration of arm strength. Admittedly, his overall defense does need a little work, but he appears to have a cannon strapped to his right shoulder. Pair this with the potential for a fielding percentage around .990, and you have an excellent combination.
Another major strength for Daniel Susac is in his bat. He rates at a 55 in both hitting and power right now, but his 2022 collegiate statistics are somewhat mind-boggling. Slashing .366/.429/.582 with an OPS of 1.012 is nothing to take lightly. He had 100 hits in a mere 64 games. His pop also showed through, as he launched 12 homers and 19 doubles. There were only 11 games where he didn’t have a hit. In the big leagues, catchers don’t very often hit for a high average, so Susac could be an exception. When paired with other catching prospects like Adley Rutschman and Shea Langeliers, that should excite any fan of the position.
Weakness-wise, Daniel Susac has the same one that plagues a lot of catchers. Namely, a lack of running prowess. His speed is rated at a 40 right now, and he did not steal a base in his entire collegiate career. However, saying that a catcher can’t run is like saying the sky is blue. It’s simply too easy. Another weakness is his inability to be patient at the plate. He has a strikeout percentage of over 19 and only walked 42 times in 125 college games. While this isn’t a major cause for alarm, coaches should be mindful of it. Once he learns a little more swing selectivity, Susac should be one of the more feared hitters in the game.
In terms of comparisons, Susac seems like current Chicago Cubs catching star Willson Contreras. A big bat and a big arm have helped vault Contreras to the top of the backstop heap. Another comparison is the former San Francisco Giants’ great Buster Posey. He was another exception to the rule above. During his MVP season in 2012, he hit .336 with 178 hits and a 171 OPS+. Susac’s success in the big leagues will depend upon following Posey’s example of patience and a balanced offensive approach. If he does that, he should have a very dependable career.